Back in June, new Australian PM Anthony Albanese met with his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern, and the pair – both big music fans – exchanged vinyls. In a turbulent time for politics, it was a genuine moment of camaraderie.
There was just one issue though: our Albo’s taste was good but a little old-fashioned. While Ardern gave him powerhouse folk singer-songwriter Aldous Harding’s 2014 self-titled debut and Reb Fountain’s recent album Iris, Albanese provided her with Midnight Oil, Spiderbait and Powderfinger in return.
That even prompted Ardern’s fiancé, Clarke Gayford, to lightly mock the gift in an Instagram comment, the broadcaster pondering if it was actually 2004 instead of 2022.
Absolutely nobody is disputing the quality of that trio – all three bands are favourites of Tone Deaf writers – but there were sadly no contemporary Australian artists in Albanese’s vinyl gift pack at a time when the country’s music scene is having quite the moment.
Four months later, Rolling Stone Australia/New Zealand decided to do something about it. The publication sent Ardern a much more modern vinyl gift pack containing the following excellent records: Baker Boy’s Gela, Ruby Fields‘ Permanent Hermit, Miiesha’s Smoke & Mirrors, Mallrat‘s Butterfly Blue, and Spacey Jane’s Here Comes Everybody.
Of those five, the oldest record came from 2019; in terms of giving Ardern an insight into contemporary Australian music, they were much more appropriate than Albanese’s well-meaning offering.
In a handwritten letter, Rolling Stone AU/NZ explained the reason for the gift: “A few months ago Mr. Albanese gifted you some vinyl records from local artists – great picks, and some of our all-time favourite Aussie acts! However, as Clarke pointed out: ‘What is this, 2004???’
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“So we hope you both enjoy these recent releases that the Rolling Stone AU/NZ team have had on repeat in the office, and maybe even discover some new favourites. Happy listening!”
So if you’re Baker Boy, Ruby Fields, Miiesha, Mallrat, or any of the Spacey Jane crew, you should be delighted that New Zealand’s most powerful political couple will be checking out your music on their nights off.